Mission Statement

The Freedom Cartoonists Foundation supports professional editorial cartooning as an essential part of civic debate. We stand for a free press as a pillar of democracy and of which political cartoons are a vital element. Through our actions, we defend freedom of speech in a spirit of dialogue.

The Foundation pursues its mission through two main activities: the biennial International Cartoonist Award, accompanied by a cartoon exhibition, and the Support Fund for threatened editorial cartoonists. We also organize educational projects aimed at fostering creativity, tolerance and an understanding of human rights.

On October 16, 2006 at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Kofi Annan, then Secretary General of the United Nations, and Plantu, cartoonist for the French newspaper Le Monde, gathered cartoonists from all over the world in a conference entitled “Unlearning Intolerance”. This symposium launched the Cartooning for Peace project, which gave birth to an Association of the same name in Paris, and, four years later, a Foundation in Geneva.

The Swiss Foundation Cartooning for Peace was co-founded in 2010 by Marie Heuzé, a former spokesman of the United Nations in Geneva, and editorial cartoonists Chappatte and Plantu, with support from Switzerland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and the United Nations Office in Geneva. Nobel Peace laureate Kofi Annan was the inspiration and the honorary chair of the Swiss Foundation until his passing in 2018. Plantu was President from 2012 to 2020. In October 2020, it was renamed the Freedom Cartoonists Foundation with Patrick Chappatte as President, and Marie Heuzé Vice President. The Foundation is headquartered at the Geneva Press Club.

Governance

Patrick Chappatte | President
Editorial cartoonist, Le Temps, NZZ am Sonntag, Der Spiegel, le Canard enchaîné, The Boston Globe. Formerly with The New York Times

Marie Heuzé | Vice-President
Former Information Director and Spokesman, United Nations in Geneva

Pierre Ruetschi | Treasurer
Former editor in chief, Tribune de Genève
President, Geneva Press Club

Frederic Fritscher | Secretary
Former editor in chief, Le Monde and Le Figaro

Roberta Ventura| Board member
Social entrepreneur & Founder, SEP Jordan

Rayan Houdrouge| Board member
Partner, Lenz & Staehelin law firm, Geneva

Guy Mettan| Board member
Former editor in chief, Tribune de Genève
Founder and former director, Geneva Press Club

Matt Wuerker | Honorary board member
Editorial cartoonist, Politico
President, Cartoonists Rights Network International, USA

Honorary chair

† Kofi Annan (1938-2018)
Former Secretary General of the United Nations
2011 Nobel Peace Prize

Past board president

Jean Plantu | President, 2010 to 2020
Former editorial cartoonist, Le Monde, L’Express
Currently: Honorary chair, Association Cartooning for Peace, Paris

To be announced soon.

Activities

International Cartoonist Award

Biannually since 2012 and on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day in the month of May, our Foundation and the City of Geneva have announced an award recognizing international editorial cartoonists for the outstanding quality of their work and for the bravery of their artistic expression, often under difficult circumstances. The prize salutes their exceptional contribution to human rights and freedom of expression. It cannot be awarded posthumously.

The International Cartoonist Award is presented in Geneva by the Mayor of the City. Until 2018, it was bestowed by the honorary chair of the Foundation, the late Mr. Kofi Annan. In 2020, it was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Starting in 2022, this distinction will adopt an annual schedule. Alternating with the Freedom Cartoonists Foundation, in odd-numbered years our partner organization in the USA, Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI) shall present the Robert Russell Courage in Cartooning Award.

Our award is granted on the recommendation of an independent jury composed of members from different backgrounds: Mayor of Geneva, Presidents of our Foundation and partner organizations, defenders of human rights and personalities known for their commitment to freedom of expression. Nominees are pre-selected with the help of our partner organizations Association Cartooning for Peace in Paris and CRNI.

Biennial exhibition on the Geneva Lakeside

In parallel to the International Cartoonist Award our Foundation unveils every two years a cartoon exhibition in the most gorgeous gallery on earth: the banks of Lake Geneva. A tribute to the laureates, this open-air exhibition also showcases a selection of some of the best editorial cartoons from all over the world on topics related to human rights, civil liberties or climate.

Support Fund for Cartoonists in Danger

With the support of the Pro Victimis foundation and private donors, our Foundation manages a pool of funds dedicated to supporting cartoonists in danger and in need of help. Cartoonists from Malaysia, Venezuela and Syria have benefited from this help since 2017.

Educational Project

In 2020 the Foundation launched the project “Creative Drawing for Humanity”: a series of cartooning classes held by Hani Abbas in schools across Geneva. The classes have been organized in collaboration with the Département de l’instruction publique, de la formation et de la jeunesse (DIP) and NGO Enfants du Monde.

Cartoonist Hani Abbas, Laureate of the 2014 International Cartoonist Award, designed a series of three modules which offer students the chance to learn basic drawing techniques and to use them as a means to express themselves. The classes stimulate students with an innovative mix of art and culture. The goal of this project is to promote values of justice, freedom, equality and tolerance through drawing and to give students the confidence to express their creativity.

Partners

Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI)
Cartooning for Peace
Swiss Confederation, Human Security Division
Ville de Genève
Human Rights Watch
Caran d’Ache